.406 Ventures Closes Debut Fund

Last April, I had my first-ever conversation with Maria Cirino, a well-known tech entrepreneur who had recently founded a VC firm called .406 Ventures (named after Ted Williams’ 1941 batting average). My question was simple, but theoretically illegal to answer: How’s fundraising going?

She said it was going fine, but that she couldn’t say any more without incurring the wrath of her firm’s attorneys. “Don’t worry Dan,” she added, “I’ll be sure to let you know when we finish.”

Since then, .406 has done nine deals and even had an exit. I’ve also called or emailed Maria at least once per month for fundraising updates that were equally fruitless. I couldn’t even get behind the curtain when we sat on a fundraising panel together, or from fellow .406 partner Larry Begley when we bumped into each other at a local charity event. So no fundraising updates on .406 here at peHUB – not because I was exhibiting patience, but because I had no other choice.

Until today, when Maria emailed to say that .406 was ready to talk. The fundraising process is complete.

.406 has closed its debut fund with $167 million in committed capital, which is slightly higher than its $150 million target. About 85% of the money comes from institutional investors like fund-of-funds Parish Capital, and it should last for the rest of 2008 and well into 2009. First-time venture funds are notoriously difficult to raise, so this is a success by any measure.

The .406 strategy is to invest in early-stage tech companies, with a particular focus on verticals like open-source software, tech-enabled business services and information security. All of its first nine portfolio companies are based within Massachusetts, although it’s willing to look elsewhere for select opportunities. For example, it is currently considering a deal in Seattle.

Current .406 portfolio companies include Bit9, Business Intelligence Advisors, ChosenSecurity, Memento, Optaros, RatePoint, ThingMaagic and VeraCode. It also had an exit when UK hospital chain BUPA paid $775 million to acquire Health Dialog, a provider of patient care management technologies.

The .406 team includes: Cirino, co-founder of Guardent (acquired by Verisign) and the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year 2003” for Business Services; Larry Begley, former CFO of both ThingMagic and of CCBN.com (bought by Thomson Financial); and Liam Donohue, a founding general partner of Arcadia Partners, a Boston-area VC firm whose old office space .406 once used.